Europeans Test Jet Powered UAV in Canada

Few Canadians would have known about tests in 2009 and 2011 by a European consortium of jet powered drones from a Canadian Forces air base. It appears not to have been reported.

In 2009 the European collaboration EADS tested its jet powered drone, the ‘technology demonstrator’ Barracuda (now morphing into the Talarion), at Goose Bay Air Forces Base, Newfoundland.

The previous test flight of the Barracuda in 2006 had resulted in a crash.

In 2010 the Barracuda flew again this time making  four sorties without crashing. View a video of it flying here.

Chris Pocock, writing in AINonline.com suggested that there was little evidence of progress in the development of this drone and that the programme was shrouded in secrecy. He wrote:

‘It seems that Zoller has banned all mention of the Barracuda and the follow-on UCAV development. Perhaps he is concerned that another crash will dent the nations’ enthusiasm for proceeding with the Advanced UAV.’

(Pocock might have mentioned that the same concerns might come from Canadians unwilling to see a drone crash in Newfoundland.)

He reported that EADS claimed it wasn’t working on armed drone programmes because it saw no deliveries for armed drones in the next ten years.

The Barracuda was resurrected so that EADS could use it to work out various UAV technologies, and is funded largely by Germany’s BWB, an arm of the German defence ministry.

Wikipedia, in an unreferenced opinion, suggests that Barracuda’s competition is the French/Swedish project Dassault’s ‘nEUROn’. Barracuda and Talarion are supported by Germany and Spain.

In January, 2011, Alan Dron writing in C4ISR, noted that European countries have struggled to fund medium sized UAV drones. His article is an extensive exploration of the issues.

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